After fighting a battle in court for trying to back out of the purchase, Elon Musk has finalized his deal with Twitter Inc. to purchase the company for $44 billion USD. While it is debated whether this decision was economically or socially in his favor, there is no doubt that he has major plans for the social media corporation. The decisions he has made thus far have already affected the platform in many ways.
His first plan of business was to lay off large groups of people, including programmers and many of the top executives, especially the legal team lead, Vijaya Gadde. By now, Musk has already fired over 3,700 of his employees, with more forecasted to lose their jobs as well. “[Musk] eliminate[d] about 3,700 jobs at Twitter Inc. … in a bid to drive down costs following his $44 billion acquisition,” stated Bloomberg writers Edward Ludlow and Kurt Wagner.
On the topic of money, Musk has also completely revamped the verification system. Whereas it was once a way to prevent scam bots and impersonators, it is now an $8 monthly subscription for just a blue checkmark beside their handle. This sparked major criticism from people who were already verified, including celebrities and popular streamers. “[T]his is making Twitter a pay-for-play system, and we know that propagandists… are very much willing and able to finance their operations,” claimed Samuel Woolley, assistant professor at the University of Texas’ School of Information. Not only are people angry at this choice, other users have chosen to abuse the system. Recently, people have been impersonating Elon Musk by verifying their accounts and creating meaningless tweets while claiming to be him. This caused Musk to crack down on parody accounts, even banning some accounts even though they properly follow Twitter’s guidelines on the topic.
Along with these poor decisions, the primary reason that he had purchased the company is so that he can implement “free speech” onto the social media platform; however, this moral does not translate well. What he meant by “free speech” is the ability to say anything and have no consequences, which is difficult to implement in a world where people are free to criticize what people say. “People eventually realize that the Wild West needs a sheriff… for ensuring the safety of citizens,” said Colin Crowell, Twitter’s former head of global public policy. Crowell predicts negative changes in Twitter’s community, which have already been seen with the recent unbanning of former president Donald Trump’s account on the site, and the mass exodus to other platforms.
Finally, Elon Musk has taken Twitter private. This means that there will be no shareholder meetings to report to, and he can keep his changes to the company away from “prying eyes,” according to the New York Times.
The current Twitter community has mixed feelings about the situation. While some people appreciate the new changes, others are vehemently against them. Regardless, Musk has made up his mind, and these decisions are probably not changing any time soon.